Harare City Council has urged residents to avoid drinking borehole water as it may be contaminated. This came out at last week's full council meeting.
Councillors are however, split with some complaining that borehole water is dirty, while others say it meets World Health Organisation standards. Acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube said residents needed to stop relying on borehole water as it has not been tested.
"We assure residents that our water is safe. Residents should desist from going to boreholes because some of them have contaminated water. We had to decommission some boreholes, especially at Matapi flats," she said.
She said the city had taken measures to ensure the supply of clean water to residents.
"We have about $8 million in our budget for pipe replacement next year. This year work has started and is progressing well. We start in areas that are really bad and we need to replace three-quarters. We expect the pace to increase next year," she said.
According to Mrs Ncube, the city was losing a lot of money buying chemicals to purify water, and this was unsustainable.
"The cost of treating water is very high because the water is contaminated. We should reduce the rate of water contamination. There is also contamination from industries, urban agriculture and we are looking at new chemicals that can be used to clean the water. We are carrying out trials and may reduce the number of chemicals from eight to three," she said.
Some councillors urged urban farmers to produce crops organically to reduce contamination of ground water with chemical residue. Director of Water Engineer Hosiah Chisango said there were complaints over the quality of water, but tests and investigations at the treatment works and at various taps indicated that the water was within WHO guidelines, with the exception of colour in some areas.
"We had to increase dosage of chemicals to deal with algae. Our water remains safe; monitoring and testing has increased to ensure it remains safe," he said.
This year, council embarked on reservoir cleaning to ensure supply of clean water. Marimba, Kambanji, Kopje and Bluff Hill reservoirs have been cleaned, while work is in progress on Mutiny and Ridge Road reservoirs. The exercise is expected to continue into 2018 and beyond.